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Casio H-801 Biolator

The Casio H-801 Biolator is an arithmetic calculator with 8 digits precision and algebraic logic. It has 6 functions, 20 keys and a VFD (vacuum fluorescent) display. The power source is 2xAA batteries. The calculator was manufactured in Japan.

One of the many fads in the 1970's was Biorhythms. Like most successful pseudoscientific theories, the notion of biorhythms has a basis in scientific fact, to the extent that many biological processes are cyclic. But the notion that a set of phased monthly cycles starting from the moment of birth and continuing through a lifetime, unperturbed by any trauma, has more in common with astrology and numerology than any kind of understanding of the human body or mind.

The calculation of biorhythms claims to predict the waxing and waning of a person's physical, emotional and intellectual functions, in order to make decisions about when to schedule certain tasks. This theory has the additional attraction that the formula is easy to compute - more complex astrological calculations would have been beyond the capabilities of mass-produced calculators. So Casio was able to take advantage and produce the Biolator, which could give you a readout of your emotional, physical and intellectual state. All you had to do was enter your date of birth.
 
The calculator came with "Life Cycles" instructions and charts to help you plan your life around your biorhythms. You enter your date of birth (year, month, day, each followed by the 'DATE' key), and perform a subtraction with the current date (entered in the same way). Pressing the 'BIO' key gives a set of numbers giving your current physical, emotional ('sensitivity') and intellectual scores. These are sinusoidal functions with slightly different periods. For example, when your physical level is at its peak it is a good time to undertake a sporting challenge. The negative part of the cycle represents your weakest and the zero crossing represents the "critical days".
 
Perhaps biorhythms sounded more scientific and up-to-date than reading tea leaves or horroscopes. Whatever the reason, biorhythms were popular and the Biolator was a huge success for Casio, until the next fashionable idea took over.
 

The Biolator has a simple four function calculator in addition to the biorhythm functions. A useful date calculation function is marred by the limitation that the years are represented by two digits, meaning that it can only be used for dates in the 20th century, and is therefore one of the few devices to fall victim to a Y2K bug.

Facts at a glance:

Type Arithmetic
Functions 6
Keys 20
Precision 8
Logic Algebraic
Display type VFD
Display size
Printer
Length 125 mm
Width 74 mm
Thickness 23 mm
Weight 104 g
Power Source 2xAA
Country Japan
Original price unknown
Est. current value unknown
Year introduced 1976
Year discontinued 1977

See other calculators manufactured by Casio.